Colonial Athletic Association Week 10 Preview

The CAA is most likely considering three playoff bids this season. The rest of the conference fights. They have eight teams with at least a .500 record at this point.

Delaware returned to the win column, but not very impressively in a 17-10 win over Dixie State. Dejoun Lee ran 100 meters.

Maine and Rhode Island are heading in different directions. Maine earned its third straight win and handed Rhode Island its third straight loss 45-24.

Richmond picked up Joe Mancuso from injury and returned to the win column with a 35-21 win. Mancuso had 291 yards and three touchdowns on his return.

William & Mary created one of the biggest upsets of the season with their 31-18 win over Villanova. The tribe eliminated Daniel Smith four times in the match.

Towson kept his slim playoff hopes alive with a 38-24 win over Albany. The Great Danes remain winless.

James Madison had 274 yards and five touchdowns in the first half before the Rains came on in a 45-21 win over Elon.

All teams are playing this week, and only two of them have non-conference games.

Last week: 4-2, Season: 52-12

Stony Brook at Maine Saturday, Nov. 6, 12 p.m., FloSports

Stony Brook enters the weekend on a two-game winning streak and comes off a bye. They are finally on the safe side of the scores after losing their first three conference games by less than a score. The Seawolves were led offensively by running back Ty Son Lawson. He averaged just under 100 yards per game and scored eight touchdowns. Stony Brook’s passing game is not very good. Tyquel Fields showed sparks of talent but he is not precise enough and returns the ball too much. Stony Brook continues to play solid defense. They hold their opponents to just 37% on third down. They also picked up 10 fumbles.

Maine returned to the bottom of the bubble after three straight wins, including one over William & Mary and Rhode Island. The Black Bears have a real chance to win, including an FBS game against the UMass doormat. If they do, they will at least give the committee food for thought. Derek Robertson continues to improve week after week. Last week he threw for 264 yards and four touchdowns. Last week’s player of the week was Freshman running back Freddie Brock. He had 123 yards and a touchdown and scored in three straight games.

Both teams are on a winning steak. Maine is a bit more consistent on both sides of the ball.

Fearless Prediction: Maine 21, Stony Brook 17

New Hampshire at Albany Saturday, Nov. 6, 1 p.m., FloSports

New Hampshire is completely down with five straight losses after winning its first three games. After playing a close game against James Madison, the Wildcats have lost three straight games by at least 14 points. Offensively, the team is struggling, scoring just 19 points per game and gaining a meager 287 yards. The defense, which is supposed to be the strength and identity of the team, really struggled, giving up 431 yards per game.

Albany plays rope in a lost season. They’ve faced a few close teams but haven’t been able to close the deal at this point. 17 points per game will not be enough to achieve victories. It’s an offense much expected going into the season, but Jeff Undercuffler is nowhere near where he was in 2019. The regression is striking for a quarterback who was a finalist for the Jerry Rice Award. Outside of Jared Verse who has 6.5 sacks, no one else on defense comes in at quarterback. The rest of the defense only has 5.5 sacks.

One of those teams is going to end a big losing streak this week. New Hampshire showed more scoring ability, so take them.

Fearless Prediction: New Hampshire 18, Albany 12

#20 William & Mary at Delaware Saturday, Nov. 6, 1:00 p.m., FloSports

William and Mary turned the CAA season upside down to this point when they beat Villanova last week 38-18. The game was not that tight. The Tribe led 31-3 before Villanova got two late touchdowns. Daniel Smith was knocked out four times in the match, giving William and Mary ten in their last two matches. The tribe has the best rushing offense in the CAA with 214 yards per game. They have four players averaging at least 47 yards per game rushing: Darius Wilson, Bronson Yoder, Donavyn Lester and Malachi Imoh. Defensively, the tribe has been ball hawks with 13 interceptions and six fumble recoveries. Nate Lynn is also wreaking havoc on the defensive line. He has 10.5 sacks on the season.

Delaware fell after Nolan Henderson was injured. The Blue Hens struggled to move the ball, even with their strong running back, Dejoun Lee. They managed to snap their three-game losing streak last week by beating a Dixie State team that has yet to earn a win this season. Zach Gwynn didn’t play very well in relief for Nolan Henderson. It showed small flashes, but it’s overall inconsistent. He has more interceptions than touchdowns. A usually aggressive Blue Hen defense has just 13 sacks on the season.

A team rises, a team falls. Don’t overthink this one.

Fearless Prediction: William & Mary 31, Delaware 13

#10 Villanova at Elon Saturday, November 6, 2:00 p.m., FloSports

Villanova had their worst outing of the season last weekend against William & Mary. Daniel Smith has been intercepted four times – he had only thrown four interceptions all season before last week. In the running game, the Wildcats typically rush for 171 yards and allow 97, but that’s reversed when they’ve only rushed 39 and allowed 258. They’ll be looking to rebound on the road against Elon. The Wildcats should easily allow less than 50 rushing yards. But can they contain Davis Cheek. After their big win over James Madison, they’ve been less than brilliant for the past two weeks.

Elon is still sitting on the edge of the playoff bubble. But their margin of error is now zero. Even winning won’t guarantee the Phoenix a bid, but losing even a single game guarantees they’ll be home for the playoffs. Last week, they traded touchdowns with James Madison early, but then allowed the Dukes to score 31 straight points. Elon doesn’t direct the ball very well, so the offense rests on the capable shoulders of Davis Cheek. Cheek threw for 2,245 yards and is expected to eclipse the 3,000 yard mark. He also threw for 15 touchdowns and just 4 interceptions when opponents knew they were going to throw the ball.

After back-to-back performances, it’s tempting to pick against Villanova this weekend. While it may be tight for a while, expect the Wildcats to take the win.

Fearless Prediction: Villanova 31, Elon 20

Towson at Richmond Saturday, Nov. 6, 2 p.m., FloSports

Towson bounced back from a poor performance against William & Mary with a 38-24 win over Albany. The Tigers rushed for 259 yards and four touchdowns. Jerry Howard had 145 yards and a touchdown. Devin Matthews ran for two touchdowns. The big difference between the two games is the safety of the ball. Against William & Mary, Towson turned the ball over six times. This week, they haven’t returned the ball once. The Tigers are only gaining 317 yards per game. The offense was unable to find a rhythm especially a passing game that only threw ten touchdowns and threw ten interceptions.

Richmond picked up Joe Mancuso from injury last week and he immediately made a difference. Had he not been injured, the Spiders would likely be tough for a playoff spot. In the win at New Hampshire, Mancuso threw for 291 and three touchdowns. In Mancuso’s four games, the Spiders scored 38, 31, 27 and 35 points. With him out of the lineup, they scored 10, 7, 3 and 14 points. In the FCS quarterback, the game matters and Mancuso is the number one piece. Spider’s aggressive defense can also pick up their game as they should be fresher with more rest. They still have 55 tackles for the season loss.

The quarterback’s play will decide this game. Mancuso is clearly the better choice over Ferguson.

Fearless Prediction: Richmond 34, Towson 16

Rhode Island at FBS Massachusetts (Independent) Saturday, November 6, 3:30 p.m., FloSports/NESN

After a 5-0 start, Rhode Island has lost three straight. The offense didn’t click during the losing streak. Before last week, the other two losses had the Rams throwing less than 100 yards every game. Kasim Hill threw for three touchdowns in the loss to Maine last week, but the defense also regressed during the losing streak. To start the year, the Rams played a much easier schedule. Now that they’ve hit the heart of their CAA game, they fall to the middle of the pack. They have a great opportunity to help their CV if they are able to beat a bad FBS schedule this weekend. Allowing 180 yards per game rushing won’t be viable for Rhode Island

UMass is one of the worst FBS programs. Their only win at this point in the season is against and equally bad team UConn. On average, they are outscored 46-15 and won 509-285. They will face two CAA teams over the next two weeks. UMass is the 1998 FCS national champion. At the time they played in the Atlantic 10 which is the precursor FCS of the CAA

This is an opportunity for an FCS team to score a win against an FBS program. It’s gonna be close, but I don’t think it’s gonna happen

Fearless prediction: UMass 23, Rhode Island 20

Campbell at #3 James Madison Saturday, October 6, 3:30 p.m., FloSports/NBCSW

Campbell enters his non-conference game with James Madison at 3-5. Coach Mike Minter is thrilled his team is seeing what a national title contender looks like and what it takes at that level. Unfortunately for the Camels, they are without their starting quarterback, Hajj-Malik Williams. He is lost for the season through injury. Wiley Hartley played well in place of Williams with 1,602 yards (267 per game) and 14 touchdowns.

James Madison is set to announce a switch to the SunBelt conference. But before leaving, they would like to win another FCS national title. Last week they beat Elon with Cole Johnson throwing for 309 yards and six touchdowns. He only attempted three passes in the entire second half. As always, the Dukes are at or near the top of most FCS defensive categories. They allow just 15 points per game and 230 yards (60 rushing, 170 passing). The Dukes have 26 sacks and 69 tackles for loss. Offensively, the Dukes are averaging over 400 yards per game. The offensive line has been a bit patchy recently and they’re having trouble between tackles. Liam FOrnadel returned from injury last week, so the Dukes will be looking to follow his block in the running game. In the passing game, the Dukes continue to rely on their dynamic receiving duo of Kris Thornton and Antwane Wells. They combined for 87 catches, 1,242 yards and 12 touchdowns.

It’s a clear shift game. The Dukes will roll.

Fearless Prediction: James Madison 51, Campbell 7

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